Completion portfolios

A powerful tool for attaining targeted exposures.

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Even the best-designed multi-manager portfolio can move out of alignment with your investment policy statement. Just a small misalignment over time can result in exposure gaps, unintended risks, and a significant diversion from the path of your strategic investment beliefs.

When an investor allocates capital to more than one manager, an interaction effect exists, which will impact the investor's overall portfolio outcome. Due to this interaction effect between managers, unintended risks may emerge in the portfolio. Simply put, the combined positions of all managers may result in a bias toward a particular risk related to sector, region, or factor. These risks may not be fully aligned with the investor's preferred positioning based on long- and short-term investment opportunities and desired risk allocations.

Russell Investments' completion portfolios are designed to keep a client's investments precisely aligned with their investment beliefs without sacrificing the power of a multi-manager approach.


What are completion portfolios or portfolio completion strategies?

Completion portfolios (or portfolio completion strategies) are a powerful tool for an investor allocating to multiple manager strategies. The explicit role of these completion portfolios is to complement the existing managers and align the total portfolio with the desired risks and exposure of a client's total portfolio, thus managing the interaction effect.


Customized exposures used in combination with active third-party managers


Enables multi-managers to achieve preferred positioning, expressing strategic beliefs


Removes unwanted portfolio biases without swamping stock selection

Completion portfolios use security and derivative investments to target specific factors, sectors, regions, and currency exposures. This helps investors ensure that these risks are being managed and exposure gaps are being reduced while still allowing manager security selection to be the primary driver of overall performance.

The benefits of completion portfolios

Improve control of exposures

Completion portfolio strategies can provide a systematic way to solve for misalignment in portfolio exposures. They can help align the total portfolio with preferred positioning and improve the overall risk and return outcomes of an investor's portfolio.

Improve risk-adjusted returns

To achieve the desired long-term outcomes, portfolios must be managed to benefit from long-term return sources but with the ability to respond to short-term market risks and opportunities. Completion portfolios help investors achieve these outcomes.

Reduce the cost of production

In many cases, including a completion portfolio can help reduce the total cost expenditure on aggregate manager fees. It may also minimize turnover, trading, and required transition costs.


Four ways we help clients with completion portfolios

  1. Better management of factor and portfolio risks
    Completion portfolios can ensure exposures to factor risks of the total portfolio are aligned with targets. This can mean reducing unintended exposure to volatility risk or targeting specific levels to other strategy factors such as value, momentum, quality, or others. In addition, the amount of active sector or regional risks are managed.
  2. Gaining exposure to areas of the market where high conviction managers don't exist
    Completion portfolios are designed to fill gaps. Examples include deep or defensive value exposure, quality income, and intelligent credit or currency factors.
  3. Unshackling PMs in their manager allocation decisions
    By creating risk management at the total-portfolio level, portfolio managers' decisions are freed up to focus on high-conviction alpha opportunities. In recent years, PMs focused on growth management while the completion portfolio provided value and low vol exposure to balance risk.
  4. Opportunistic allocations
    When shorter-term opportunities arise in the market, the client can reposition risk in the portfolio in a nimble, precise, cost-effective manner.

The Russell Investments advantage

Experience matters. We've been building and managing completion portfolios for institutional clients since 2008. Our completion portfolio platform has expanded to approximately 100 individual separate accounts, with more than $21bn in AUM.1 This includes completion portfolios used directly by institutional clients and those used within Russell Investments' multi-asset solutions.

Our seasoned specialists provide the expertise, resources, and infrastructure required to design and implement customized investment frameworks to address interaction effect and optimize your portfolio to improve risk-adjusted performance and prevent unintended and uncompensated risk.

We provide opportunities for clients with synthetic overlays to utilize liquidity more efficiently by investing in optimized strategies that align with their desired fixed income exposures.

Capabilities for greater portfolio precision

Factor investing has been one of Russell Investments' core capabilities for more than 40 years since the launch of the Russell-style indexes.

Our factor investing has continued to innovate and advance—from using factor exposures in our funds through our direct investing capabilities to having pure multi-factor funds. We use thoughtful and academically supported factor definitions, robust portfolio construction techniques, and consistent risk models.

Extensive quant infrastructure and flexible implementation

Thoughtful and academically-supported factor definitions

Consistent risk modeling

Robust portfolio construction techniques


Single and multi-factor solution:

  • Value
  • Momentum
  • Quality
  • Low volatility
  • Growth

Completion portfolios

Systemic strategies, i.e., quality income

Fixed income / currency

Rates factor (value/carry)
Intelligent credit (value):

  • Investment grade
  • High yield
  • Fallen angels
  • Global credit/government
  • Quasi-Sovereign-enhanced beta

Currency: Value, Carry and Trend

Passive / smart beta strategies versus external indices

LDI solutions

Enhanced cash

1 Russell Investments as of December 31, 2022.

Russell Investments has been globally recognized for excellence in the investment industry.

We have a proven track record in investment implementation, with scale, client satisfaction, innovative solutions and more than 35 years of experience.

Russell Investments was ranked globally as one of the top 10 managers of factor-based strategies. This ranking is based on worldwide assets under management (AUM) from 58 firms (as of December 31, 2022), where Russell Investments ranked 9th in the 2023 Pensions & Investments' "Special Report: Money Managers."1

Pensions & Investments Overlay Services Manager Award

For 19 consecutive years, Russell Investments has been ranked as one of the top 10 largest institutional managers of overlay assets. This position is based on U.S. institutional, tax-exempt overlay assets from 27 firms where Russell Investments ranked 3rd (as of December 31, 2022) in the 2023 Pensions & Investments "Special Report: Money Managers."2

In 37 out of 42 most recent quarters, Russell Investments Implementation Services, LLC has been ranked as a top-tier broker in Pensions & Investments' Tradewatch report based on the quality of its trade execution (most recently in P&I's March 2022 issue).3


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Lisa Schneider

Lisa Schneider, CFA

Managing Director,
Head of Client Solutions

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